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Sergio Garcia wins Qatar Masters for second victory of season

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Sergio Garcia birdied the third extra hole to beat Mikko Ilonen in a playoff Saturday and win the Qatar Masters in Doha for his second victory in three events.

Garcia entered the round three shots behind overnight leader Rafa Cabrera-Bello but birdied six of his last 12 for a seven-under-par 65, forcing Ilonen to make an 18-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to force the playoff with a 66. They both finished on 16-under 272.

Garcia missed an eight-foot birdie putt on the last that would have given him the win in regulation, and then couldn't make an eagle putt for the victory on the first playoff hole.

The Spaniard and Ilonen both had birdies on the second extra hole as well before Garcia sealed the victory with a tap-in birdie at the third to Ilonen's par.

“I started the day thinking if I can shoot a six or seven under, I can have a chance,” Garcia. “I'm very happy to be able to win it.”

Cabrera-Bello only managed a 69 and fell to a tie for third with Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark (68).

Garcia's victory helped make up for last year's disappointment in Doha, when he finished runner-up after England's Chris Wood eagled the last hole to claim his first European Tour win. It also came on the heels of his victory at the Thailand Golf Championship in December, when he had his girlfriend Katharina Boehm caddie for him. Boehm was among the first to congratulate him after he sealed the win on Saturday.

“When things off the golf course are on good terms it is a little easier to concentrate when you don't have too many things in your head,” Garcia said. “I am very fortunate with Kathy and with my family and all those around me, so it's great to be playing well and to be in this winning situation with the goal now to keep improving.

“I still feel like I can do better and that is the goal.”

Choi leads at LPGA Classic

Na Yeon Choi shot a 7-under 66 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead in the season-opening Bahamas LPGA Classic at Paradise Island, chipping to a foot to set up a birdie on the par-5 18th hole.

The seventh-ranked Choi, a seven-time winner on the LPGA Tour, birdied three of the last four holes in her bogey-free round to reach 15 under on Atlantis Resort's Ocean Club course. Lizette Salas was a stroke back. She also had a bogey-free 66.

Jessica Korda and Paula Creamer each eagled the 18th to reach 12 under. Korda, the second-round leader, had a 72, and Creamer shot 71. Creamer also holed a sand wedge from 82 yards for an eagle on the par-5 11th, but had a triple-bogey 8 on No. 15.

Third-ranked Stacy Lewis was tied for fourth at 11 under with Amelia Lewis and Jenny Suh. Stacy Lewis had a 68, Amelia Lewis shot 66, and Suh had a 71. Michelle Wie and 16-year-old Lydia Ko were in the group at 10 under. Wie followed her second-round 65 with a 72. Ko, making her first start as an LPGA Tour member, had a 71.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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